Jul 232004

Tonight we had a small problem with one of our RAID arrays at work. A drive in the array had failed, but every time the array rebuilt, it marked itself failed again. The entire process took around an hour and was constantly occurring. It took a few minutes to solve the problem; we ended up moving around 80 GB of data from one volume to another. In the end, it looks like two drives in the array actually failed. A RAID array can easily survive one drive failure; two drive failures generally leads to the loss of your data.

The problem wasn’t really that difficult to solve. It was just a matter of going through all of the correct steps to solve the problem. We didn’t even have a loss of functionality to our customers. The problem I had is that it got me a bit wired.

I first started working on the problem today between 7:30 and 8 pm, just as I was going to leave work. Unfortunately, the problem took several hours to solve, and I didn’t end up leaving work until 11:30 pm. I walked around midtown for a few blocks, but I remained wired. I took a taxi home and talked with a couple of friends at a local bar, Cafe Steinhof for a bit. I didn’t have anything to drink, because I hadn’t really had a substantial dinner. I didn’t have anything to eat, because I don’t want to eat just before I went to bed.

I talked with a few friends for a while; I just got back home from the bar five or ten minutes ago. I’m still a bit wired. On the bright side, I think once I hit my bed I’ll actually conk right out.

I have a lot on my plate right now:

  • I wanted to buy moving boxes tonight so I could…
  • Pack up my apartment of seven years this weekend because…
  • Movers are coming to my apartment next Thursday…
  • To get me out of my apartment by the end of the month…
  • Three days before I leave for Athens to cover the Olympics…
  • But not before I have found a contractor to work on my new apartment…
  • So that construction work can be occurring before I return…
  • Direct to DC from Athens to go to a wedding that same night…
  • Then back to NYC for a couple of weeks…
  • Then back to Athens to help pack up the computers…
  • Before I leave for Rome to go on a vacation for two weeks…
  • And stay in hotels that I haven’t picked yet…
  • Making my way to Milan where I will fly back to NYC…
  • And stay in my apartment.
  • Unless it isn’t finished.

I’m going to be wired for the next two months, I think.

 Posted by at 2:00 am
Jul 182004

My new apartment is on the edge of Brooklyn Heights, right next to DUMBO. DUMBO stands for “Down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.” The neighborhood is literally underneath the Manhattan Bridge. Yesterday, I showed a bunch of friends the new place, and then we walked around DUMBO. We ate dinner and had a couple of beers at Superfine, a really great restaurant. After that, we walked around a little bit. It’s quite a beautiful neighborhood.

The Manhattan Bridge from Front Street in DUMBO

The Manhattan Bridge from Front Street in DUMBO

The Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park

 Posted by at 7:07 pm
Jul 152004

So every time I spend some amount of money on my Amazon.com credit card, I get a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate. I’ve been saving them up for a while on Amazon; you can enter the certificate number immediately and redeem it later. This is a cool feature. I just spent over $200 on books and CD’s. With super saver shipping, I ended up spending exact $0 out of pocket. Well, right now that is. I spent a lot on the credit card before now. Here is what I got:

All of these links are links into Amazon.com. Amazon has a program called the “Associates Program.” It would allow me to create a link to Amazon that would allow me to get revenue every time a link was clicked. I thought about joining this program, but then decided against it. One of the clauses of the program’s Operating Agreement was:

Further, you acknowledge and agree that you will: (a) not, in connection with this Agreement, display or reference on your site, any trademark or logo of any third party seller on the Amazon.com Site; […]

It’s not the worst clause I have ever seen in a contact, but it is a bit obnoxious. Suppose I want to comment on the logo of a “third party seller.” Normally, I could include the logo here with criticism; that would be considered fair use. However, I could be in breach of my Amazon.com Associates Program agreement if I did so.

A couple of other clauses also made me uncomfortable. The revenue doesn’t make the program worthwhile for me.

I still like Amazon, and I’ll continue buying from them and linking to them.

Update at 7:00 PM: I received everything!

 Posted by at 11:04 am
Jul 092004

My friend Harlan is engaged to a very nice woman named Kathleen he met at their hospital. A bunch of coworkers and I went with them to Esca to celebrate. They make a very cute couple. Harlan is a neurosurgeon resident, and Kathleen is a speech pathologist.

Harlan and Kathleen

We had a really great meal. Almost everyone had the tasting menu. (Anne abstained from the tasting menu due to the vagaries of what she chooses to eat.) We had several bottles of wine. At the end of the meal, Anne’s other half Stewart arrived with a friend of his and had several courses of their own as well. Phil and his wife Karen were also in attendance.

Here is a list of what we had to eat:

  1. An amuse-bouch of Mackerel and white bean bruschetta (the fish may be incorrect); a small dish of olives. Olives and bruschetta are a wonderful way to start the meal.
  2. A plate of flash-fried baby eels with lemon. This is a terrific snack food. The fish is a little oily to begin with, and the slight crust makes this a joy to eat.
  3. Two flights of crudo. Crudo is raw fish; it is essentially Italian sushi. Each flight was served in a glass dish with three pieces over a bed of ice. All of the crudo were dressed with virgin olive oil and sea salt. The dishes were:
    • A small oyster (I forgot the species, but it was a mild, briney New England oyster), Tilefish, and Fluke with seabeans
    • Kingfish with a caper berry, Hamachi with olive puree, and Razor Clam ceviche

    We also had an extra piece of crudo for each of us on a plate in the middle of the table: Sockeye Salmon with pink peppercorns. Sockeye Salmon is my favorite type of Salmon. It has a strong flavor and a beautiful color.

  4. A nice crispy piece of bacon, a wonderfully fried egg, and a small frisee salad served on top of a small piece of crispy bread. The egg was perfectly cylindrical with a crispy bottom. A cynic would call this a fancy Egg McMuffin.
  5. Stuffed fried zucchini blossoms for the table.
  6. Linguini with clams and pancetta. The clams were nicely cooked and the dish melted together magically.
  7. Squid ink pasta with Cuttlefish. I wasn’t sure if I would like this dish because I had never eaten Cuttlefish. I shouldn’t have been concerned. Cuttlefish tastes like a very tender, very rich squid. I don’t want to think about its cholesterol content.
  8. Striped Bass with a nice green vegetable. I don’t remember if this was definitely Bass. We were on our last legs at this point, and I was unable to finish this dish. There was a nice 4-6 ounce chunk of seared fish, with a nicely sauteed bed of greens. If I had skipped a course or two earlier, this would have been great.
  9. Five wonderful desserts:
    • Flourless chocolate espresso cake with a scoop of coffee ice cream.
    • Blueberries
    • Anise puff pastry
    • Three gelatos: honey, cherry, and chocolate
    • Fresh berries with a basil blintz

We had many fantastic wines, but I can’t even begin to describe them all. I could have enjoyed a white or rose wine; Phil favors red wines and he was doing the picking. That being said, we went through the gamut of heavy red wine types. The wines ranged from fruity with oak to earthy and dry.

Esca doesn’t seem to have a readily available website, so you can check out a short overview at Epicurious.

 Posted by at 2:38 pm
Jul 092004

I visited John Kerry’s and George Bush’s sites today, and I found what I feel is an interesting contrast between the two web sites. Bush’s site employs significantly more negative campaigning than Kerry’s site. I took screen snapshots of the two sites, so you can see for yourself. I am a Kerry supporter. However, I have not altered the pictures in any way. I find the amount of negative advertising on Bush’s site a little amazing, but I am also shocked by the lack of negative advertising on Kerry’s site.

Screenshot of John Kerry for President site Screenshot of George Bush Re-Election site

 Posted by at 2:25 pm
Jul 052004

A note from my friend Henry:

We’re sending $1475 to the Kerry Campaign and $301 to MoveOn.org, for a grand total of — drumroll please — $1776. Pretty cool huh?

(Okay, I must admit that Jill and I cooked the books a bit to arrive at this patriotic grand total. Last night it was $1770, but then I tore up my $50 check to MoveOn and made it $56.)

 Posted by at 2:48 pm
Jul 042004

Today my friends Henry and Jill are having a barbecue. It is a “Beat Bush Barbecue.” Everyone who attends is supposed to bring a check for John Kerry for President or MoveOn.org. At first I thought this was kind of annoying, but then I realized that these are both organizations I believe in. I haven’t given either organization financial support yet, and this BBQ is just the kick I needed to donate.

New York Times CookbookI made a chocolate mousse for the BBQ. I got the recipe from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. This is a great cookbook. All of the recipes are well tested, and you don’t have to be an expert chef to use them. It is definitely one of my go-to cookbooks.

Below is a photo of my chocolate mousse. It is in a pretty Emile Henry dish. The dish is red, but you can’t tell because the mousse is backlit.

Chocolate Mousse

The recipe is not as safe as it could be. It contains raw egg whites, which could cause Salmonella poisoning. You can cook egg whites to 160°F to kill any bacteria, but this is a fairly annoying extra step. I will definitely let people know that there are raw egg whites in the mousse, but I am not too concerned. To look up techniques to make raw egg whites safer, just do a Google search for “safe raw egg whites.” Many sites will come up. I found the directions at Aki’s Kitchen fairly easy to read. Again, I didn’t bother.

I think a chocolate mousse is only as good as its ingredients. I used heavy cream from Ronnybrook Farm, unsweetened chocolate from Lindt, orange liqueur from Grand Marnier, and large organic brown eggs from Organic Valley (cool domain name). I also used white granulated sugar to sweeten the chocolate, and vanilla beans from Blue Apron Foods.

Lindt Chocolate

[Wonderful Blogger behavior. After spending a good 20 minutes writing this post, I clicked preview. When I clicked the “back” button, Blogger essentially deleted my post. Web sites that cause the “back” button to have poor functionality are very lame.]

 Posted by at 3:10 pm
Jul 012004

I went to my apartment around 8 pm last night mainly to pick up the mail. Even though I haven’t moved in, I still have to pay maintenance. Whenever I visit my apartment, I get a really happy feeling. It is great owning my own place, even if it does need a lot of work that hasn’t been started yet. And the view remains fantastic. I can’t wait to take more photos.

Check out this view at night:

Brooklyn Bridge at night

Isn’t it amazing?

 Posted by at 1:15 pm
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